When Ford announced at last month's Chicago Auto show that it would collaborating with Smith Electric Vehicles to bring an electric version of the Transit connect van to the U.S. market in 2010, they didn't actually bring a sample along. Here in Geneva the automaker did have a vehicle much like the one we will get. The Tourneo BEV is the low roof passenger version of the Transit Connect but the important bits of this concept are what will appear in the TC EV. The wheels get drive torque supplied by an AC induction motor and the electrons are stored in a lithium iron phosphate battery pack. Dan Jenkins from Smith declined to reveal who the cell supplier is or will be. A similar Transit Connect EV will be sold by Smith in Europe beginning this fall.
Photos Copyright ©2009 Sam Abuelsamid / Weblogs, Inc.
FORD REVEALS NEW TOURNEO CONNECT WITH BATTERY ELECTRIC POWERTRAIN AT THE 2009 GENEVA SHOW
- Geneva debut for new-look Ford Tourneo Connect people mover
- Show vehicle features conceptual full Battery Electric Vehicle powertrain (BEV)
- Tourneo Connect BEV Concept shows how commercial BEV technology could be applied to a passenger model
- BEV technology developed in collaboration with Smith Electric Vehicles, part of the UK-based Tanfield Group
- Smith already converts and markets BEV versions of Ford Transit and Transit Connect commercial vehicles in Europe
- Smith Electric Vehicles confirmed also as partner for Ford in North America to convert the new Transit Connect BEV, available in 2010
- Ford's aggressive global electric vehicle plan is extending to Europe – if interest in Tourneo Connect BEV is high, it could become production reality
A new look Ford Tourneo Connect is being revealed at the 2009 Geneva Motor Show introducing new interior and exterior design details that will be introduced across the Connect range later this year.
But the Geneva Show vehicle has a unique added extra – a conceptual but fully operational Battery Electric Vehicle (BEV) powertrain that shows how Ford is extending its aggressive global electric vehicle plan to Europe.
The full BEV powertrain showcased in the Tourneo Connect has been developed in collaboration with Smith Electric Vehicles, the European market's leading battery electric specialist converter of commercial vehicles, which is part of the UK-based Tanfield Group of companies.
Since 1920, Smith has converted tens of thousands of vehicles to battery electric power. In the UK and select European markets, Smith already offers battery electric versions of the Ford Transit medium commercial vehicle to fleet customers, and later this year will introduce a battery electric version of the Ford Transit Connect small commercial. It is this technology that has been adapted for the Tourneo Connect BEV concept.
"The Tourneo Connect BEV concept shows how Ford's collaboration with Tanfield is extending the company's global electric vehicle plan to Europe," said John Fleming, Chairman and CEO, Ford of Europe, "The technology is already available for commercial vehicle applications, and at the 2009 Chicago Show we confirmed that we will launch, with Tanfield as our partner, the Transit Connect van as a full BEV in North America in 2010.
"Although conceptual for now, if there is sufficient interest, this silent, zero emission technology could be applied to the Tourneo Connect quite quickly. We think it would be an ideal solution for taxi use, as a hotel shuttle vehicle or similar inner city application," Fleming added.
"Offering the Ford Connect vehicle family with battery electric power represents the next logical step in our pursuit of even greater fuel economy and sustainability," said Derrick Kuzak, Ford's group vice president of Global Product Development. "We know a growing number of our fleet clients have expressed interest in electrification as a sustainable mobility solution. By leveraging our global team and asset portfolio, we're able to bring this environmentally friendly, strong 'silent type' quickly to market as a van, and we believe there are enormous possibilities for a Tourneo Connect passenger model as well."
Developed with an established partner for electrification
The Tourneo Connect BEV Concept has been developed in collaboration with a proven partner for electrification - the UK-based specialist company Smith Electric Vehicles, part of the Tanfield Group.
Since 2007 Ford has collaborated with Tanfield on the development of battery-electric vehicles on Ford chassis, including the Transit medium commercial and Transit Connect. In the UK and select European markets, Tanfield already offers battery electric versions of the Ford Transit medium commercial vehicle to fleet customers, and expects to deliver its first Transit Connect BEVs later this year.
For the Tourneo Connect BEV Concept, latest level battery electric technology was chosen. A 21 kWh Lithium-Ion Phosphate battery pack accumulates the energy to drive a 50 kW permanent magnet motor, while the drive torque is transmitted to the driveshafts by a single-speed transmission. Using this set-up, Smith Electric Vehicles is targeting a range of up to 160 km (100 miles), and a top speed of 113 km/h (70 mph).
Recharging the vehicle is also an easy exercise: the onboard battery charger can be plugged directly into a standard mains socket, and a full battery charge is accomplished in 6 to 8 hours.
"We strongly believe that the Tourneo Connect BEV Concept is pointing in the right direction," said Fleming. "It demonstrates a more than reasonable blend of environmentally responsible performance, day-to-day practicality, and low cost of ownership. We will monitor feedback from the public and the media to this concept very closely, and if there is sufficient interest we will work with Tanfield on a plan to put the vehicle into production."
Global Commitment to Sustainable Mobility
The use of the now global Transit/Tourneo Connect vehicle platform showcases Ford's ability to deliver products with worldwide marketing opportunities.
Powering Ford Motor Company's electrification drive is its "One Ford" global product vision. The company's aggressive new electric vehicle plan announced last January at the North American International Auto Show will see a number of pure battery-powered vehicles, hybrids and plug-in hybrids to market in the US initially and potentially around the world over the next four years.
In the near term in Europe, the company's approach to affordable, sustainable mobility is centered on its range of Ford ECOnetic ultra-low CO2 diesel models, an extensive range of Ford Flexifuel vehicles (FFVs) and, from 2010, a new range of Ford EcoBoost petrol direct injection turbo powertrains offering up to 20 per cent improved fuel economy, depending on vehicle type, and CO2 reductions of up to 15 per cent.
Complementing these cost efficient powertrains are a number of new driver-focused technologies that further improve fuel economy and emissions, notably the advanced Ford PowerShift transmission system – already available in the Ford Focus and Ford C-MAX – and a new Ford Auto-Start-Stop system appearing first on the
iosis MAX Concept car in Geneva and entering volume production in the Ford range in the near future.
But Ford of Europe's commitment doesn't end there.
"We're working on extending the global Ford electric vehicles plan into our European portfolio, and while the Tourneo Connect BEV is a practical start that could go into production quickly, we will have more to say on our plans for the mid-term later on this year," Fleming said.
Fresh looks for the next generation
The Tourneo Connect BEV Concept also introduces a new look for the Tourneo and Transit Connect range that will be launched later in 2009.
The revised front bumper and grilles feature Ford of Europe's characteristic trapezoidal shape, and new headlamps and tail-lamps enhance the fresh appearance. The interior has been reworked, with a new car-like dashboard and new improved seats. The high-series Tourneo Connect kombi model making its debut in Geneva also introduces an attractive new exterior colour 'Noisette'.
"After we introduced 'kinetic design' language to our commercial vehicle range with the new Fiesta Van, we wanted to bring the Transit/Tourneo Connect range closer to our latest family look as well," said Chris Bird, Design Director Ford of Europe. "At the same time, however, we wanted to keep the characteristic ruggedness of the exterior, but deliver a new interior design to match our latest passenger car entries. We believe the final result makes the Tourneo Connect even more attractive as a passenger use vehicle while retaining its tough, durable image."